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Websites that work in all browsers

I was chatting with a friend the other day about our respective browser preferences. My favourite browser is Opera and his is Firefox. I mentioned that I didn't like Firefox as it is quite bloated and slow although I do use it for two things.

Firstly, it has some great add-ons for web developers and these help me to trace problems when I am designing websites.

Secondly, I cannot use Opera for my Internet banking so I use Firefox in preference to Internet Explorer.

"Why can't you use Opera for your Internet banking?" he asked.

 He had a point. In my opinion is that it is down to shear laziness on the part of the Internet developers who work for the banks.

Historically, designing websites to work across different browsers has been a nightmare. In the early days when Netscape and Internet Explorer had 99% of the market, each website would be designed for one and then tweaked to work in the other. Wherever JavaScript was used to make the site more interactive, this became even more true.

Already in the late 1990s, web standards were being developed as a solution to this problem. But for a long time, especially during the reign of Netscape Navigator version 4, websites had almost to be designed twice to take into account the gulf that existed between the 2 browsers.

Gradually, all of the browsers in common use have slowly adopted web standards. Opera has always accepted them and Firefox and Safari also closely follow the standards. Internet Explorer too from version 7 onwards, has been following these standards. Version 9 of Internet Explorer looks set to finally adopt many of the latest standards that can make websites much more useful and attractive.

All this is a long way of saying that it has actually been quite easy for some time now to create websites that are cross-browser compatible.

A quick note to web developers that might be reading this. The above comment about it being easy does exclude the dreadful Internet Explorer Version 6 of course!

When you consider that the banks are probably paying hundreds of thousands of pounds or even millions of pounds for their Internet banking services, it is astonishing that the web developers could not even be bothered to make them cross browser compatible. The amount of work in order to do this is minimal and not to do so is, in my view, unforgivable.

Thankfully, all sites created using the AB Publish set of tools are fully cross-browser compatible. So all of your customers should have a great browsing experience no matter which browser (and it is THEIR choice) they happen to favour.

Mon 14 March 2011 18:30:33

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